View Full Version : Is Medicine

26th Sep 2013, 20:20
Good for you?
My partner suffers from Femoral Cramp, VERY painful. Doctor prescribes Quinine tablets. On reading the destructions, it states... "If death occurs, stop taking the tablets an inform the doctor" WTF?

Loose rivets
26th Sep 2013, 20:55
After the laughter, one stops to consider just how painful this is. My mom used to scream with pain, and then limp for 36 hours after an attack. She was sure taking more salt turned the problem around.

Is your wife on a reduced salt diet of some sort?

26th Sep 2013, 22:17
Had it on and off, mostly off, for forty years. Used to get it sitting on stool at kitchen counter during dinner. Seriously salty water seemed to help.

Got worse (not more frequent) as I got older. Occasionally get it in bed now and much more painful (and seems to last longer too.) Can't see any rhyme or reason to when it happens. Can be sore for a few days after. Sometimes I 'think' I am getting a precursor feeling and maybe 'avoid' it by stretching and lying still but maybe that's just in my mind.

Anyone who gets it frequently has my sympathy.

26th Sep 2013, 22:25
I hadn't realised that this was a recognised medical condition. I get it sometimes three or four times a week, then not for weeks on end. It usually happens at night and seems to be triggered by a particular movement when turning over. It can be excruciatingly painful and I usually hop out of bed and stretch my legs standing against the wall, as described here : Calf Cramps - PhysioAdvisor (http://www.physioadvisor.com.au/14790350/calf-cramps-physioadvisor.htm)

Like ChrisVJ, I am often sore for days afterwards, and there seems to be no logic to when it occurs. Sometimes it happens after I've been walking, and sometimes when I've done very little exercise, so that does not seem to be a trigger, and nor does diet.

Most unpleasant, but as I prefer not to take medication unless really essential, I suppose I shall have to live with it. I too sympathise with other sufferers.

Dan Gerous
26th Sep 2013, 22:35
Are you on Simvastatin? I was on Simvastatin and had my medication changed and informed by letter, that people had been getting cramp who were using simvastatin. I had also been experiencing painful calf cramps for a period before this change. It seems to have stopped now.

27th Sep 2013, 00:50
Good for you?
My partner suffers from Femoral Cramp, VERY painful. Doctor prescribes Quinine tablets. On reading the destructions, it states... "If death occurs, stop taking the tablets an inform the doctor" WTF?

Well, of course the destructions would say "death". That's why they are destructions...

27th Sep 2013, 11:31
40 years ago, I was prescribed quinine sulphate for femoral cramp, and it worked. I believe it is a well known approach.

maybe a lot of G & Ts?

27th Sep 2013, 14:51
Ahh, it's got a name. I thought it was just part and parcel of being.

I get them very often in bed, mostly after a decent day's walk. I found the trick is to find a leg position that relaxes the pain and just wait it out. Bending your foot up and curling your toes up helps too. Although the pain can be excruciating and a lingering "bruised" feeling can remain, it does eventually goes away.

I prefer my long walks so I'm willing to put up with it without resorting to using medical destructions or otherwise.

28th Sep 2013, 12:45
Calf muscle cramps are a bummer. I have them typically when just settling into bed, though sometimes during solid sleeps. In my case the particular movement that triggers it - mostly occurring in the right leg - is when I carelessly "point" my toes on that foot -- causing the line of the foot to align more with the line of the leg. Once the cramping cycle starts, it is very difficult to arrest gracefully, though I have found a way.

Occurrences are infrequent, but most commonly when I've been doing strenuous outdoor work such as land-clearing or serious woodcutting. Wearing boots while working for long time stretches at a higher-than-normal rate and duration of effort are the typical precursors. Dehydration might be a part of that signature as well.

If not interrupted, the cramping forms lots of lactic acid in those big muscles... with effects that can follow for days. Attempting to at least minimize that damage, I developed a theory -- that the initiation or trigger event causes one or more muscle groups to tighten AND, by chance, that tightening process rather quickly squeezes off the feedback nerve signals (or blood supply) that sense the tightening process, thereby interrupting the nerve control information necessary to regulate the tightening to a reasonable level of tautness. So the tightening process goes to its max limit and stays there, causing major lactic acid buildup and real physical damage to the overworked muscle fibers. Only reasonable fix is to disrupt the cycle.

As soon as possible after noticing onset of the cramp, I grab the offending muscle bunch with both hands and mash it through finger pressure, squeezing, and twisting. If this is not possible or is insufficient, I form a hard fist and commence punching at the meatiest parts of the OTT muscles. The effect of one or both of these actions is to change the rules for nerve signalling in the muscle's awareness and thus break the deadlock. Every time, so far, this method has worked quickly when applied... with no real harm to the limb and certainly a much faster recovery time than if the seizure is just allowed to time itself out.

I would be interested to hear if others find the method useful.


28th Sep 2013, 12:57
I get cramp occasionally; often brought on in the same way as arcniz mentions..."pointing" the toes. I find that doing the exact opposite, moving the toes as hard as possible upwards gets rid of the incipient cramp...best done as soon as the onset is noticed. As the attack is thus not allowed to develop, then there is no lasting effect due to lactic acid build up...no time for it to happen. This had been working well for me for at least 40 years.

28th Sep 2013, 13:09
Molemot says:
I find that doing the exact opposite, moving the toes as hard as possible upwards gets rid of the incipient cramp

Agree that "pulling the toes up" (pivoting toward knee at the ankle joint) seems a good solution in many cases... where possible early on. Less dramatic and risky than pummeling one's limbs, also.

Problem cases are when that early intervention is precluded... deep sleep, or sleeping boots-on.

28th Sep 2013, 13:47
My vade mecum medical handbook says "Cramp in the legs is common, especially at night. It may also occur after exercise." Salt depletion is mentioned as a possible cause, and I wonder whether trying to limit the salt intake in food, in accordance with recommended good dietary practice, is in fact having a deleterious effect in some cases.

For my periodic working visits to very hot parts of the world, my wife (a former SRN) used to include an over-the-counter saline powder to be spooned into drinks in the medical pack she made up for me, to avoid cramps associated with dehydration and salt depletion from increased sweating. My colleague on one of these trips to East Africa suffered painful leg cramps, so I gave him some of my powder, and it overcame his problem.

Regarding use of quinine, my handbook also says "Night cramps in the elderly may respond to quinine bisulfate at night by mouth twice weekly".

Sailor Vee
28th Sep 2013, 14:27
I find that regular intake of either Tonic or Bitter Lemon, (by Schhh, you know who!), which contain quinine and isotonic drinks if thirsty during the night, normally precludes the onset of cramps, (+ to hell with limiting salt intake!)

wings folded
28th Sep 2013, 14:34
Is Medicine
Good for you?


28th Sep 2013, 17:42
At RAF Sharjah in 1963-64 the tables in the airmen's mess had bowls of salt tablets and vitamin tablets. I think we also had to take paludrin

28th Sep 2013, 22:23
Cramp is rarely due to an underlying medical cause.

If you are worried, then your friendly GP (!) could probably rule out any sinister symptoms by listening to your symptoms carefully.

Having said that, spent many lengths swimming last week, had left leg calf cramp for the first 5-6 lengths. My normal "self cure" would be to place the flat of my foot somewhere cold (the bath), couldn't be *rsed, so swam through it. Probably not the best idea, but the knot in the calf seemed to recover.

28th Sep 2013, 22:34
Apparently, I am told, night cramp can also be a symptom of kidney disease. Which I have, and from time to time, the bloody cramp. If persistant, see the doctor.

28th Sep 2013, 22:55
I have the same problem radeng and find the only acceptable solution is to fling yourself out of bed onto your feet and stretch the offending muscle.
On two occasions I've had both calf muscles go into cramp at the same time. That really makes life interesting.

Leg cramps are not that uncommon even in people who are otherwise fully fit. 1 in 3 of the over 60s and 1 in 2 of the over 80s get occasional night cramps.

Strikes me that the feed back mechanism could do with a mod.

29th Sep 2013, 08:47
I haven't had a cramp for the past forty or fifty years.

I read this thread yesterday.

Woke up this morning - Sunday - with agonising cramp in left calf muscle.

Obviously the curse of PPRuNe !

Is Medicine
Good for you?


Couldn't agree more. My doctor always tries natural cures before dishing out drugs. Example: my annual medical, November 2012, my cholesterol was high. Doctor states his opinions of unspeakable statins and their side effects (cataracts, memory loss with some, skeletal problems). Suggests I try Red Rice yeast tablets and plant-sterol joghurt. A year later my cholesterol is just below the normal level.

29th Sep 2013, 13:53
I have this problem at times - and pretty well as others have described - usually precipitated by sleepily stretching in bed during a break in sleep pattens.

Herself on the other side of the bed also suffers from this problem from time to time. I usually manage to stop it by standing up alongside of the bed and placing all of my weight on the offending leg for as long as it takes to go away .....

I also get occasional cramps in the throttle hand after an hour or so of riding the motor bike. It can also come using the soldering iron, and on very rare occasions, in either hand during knife and fork manipulation.

Salt tablets were always suggested in local folk lore as being the preventative. I have used them many years ago; the results were inconclusive.

I've got to this age without any adverse long term effects noted. I guess if they are still a problem in twenty or thirty years time, I'll see the doctor about it ..... :ok:

29th Sep 2013, 15:22
just go vegetarian

It doesn't help ! According to my doctor, only 5% of diet affects cholesterol, 95% comes from the body itself. Obviously this isn't true of anyone who lives on Mars Bars fried in fat served with chips, but it is true for people on normal* diets.

*So not the Scots, then.

30th Sep 2013, 12:12
Don be messin quinine witch yo calfs.

Found by chance from tickler while reading news regarding a Citation incident at SMO:

The FDA warns against using quinine for leg cramps
July 08, 2010|By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday cautioned consumers against using quinine for leg cramps, warning that the drug could cause severe side effects, including death. Quinine, sold in this country under the brand name Qualaquin, is approved for treatment of uncomplicated malaria, but has a long history of use as a remedy for leg cramps, especially at night. In many countries, it is sold over the counter. Studies have shown that it can reduce the incidence of cramps by one-third to one-half but that as many as one in every 25 users can suffer serious side effects.

In a new warning to health professionals, the FDA said that between April 2005 and Oct. 1, 2008, it had received 38 reports of severe adverse events associated with the drug, including two deaths. Twenty-one patients had to be hospitalized because of severe bleeding due to a loss of blood cells called platelets -- a condition called thromobocytopenia -- and an additional 12 had bleeding in their mucosa. The agency believes many similar events went unreported.

Quoted per FAIR USE provision of US Copyright law - public health information, US Govt source.

FDA source: Qualaquin (quinine sulfate): New Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy - Risk of serious hematological reactions (http://www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch/safetyinformation/safetyalertsforhumanmedicalproducts/ucm218424.htm)

30th Sep 2013, 12:57
only 5% of diet affects cholesterol, 95% comes from the body itself

Am not expert re cholesterol, but have read a bit over the years. Believe you are correct that near all our retained cholesterol is internally synthesized, but that is splitting the wrong hair.

IIRC, the body DOES produce most cholesterol used for operation internally, because that's what it wants to do. Cholesterol that comes as baggage from outside, mostly through digestion of food, gets into the bloodstream for transport as a byproduct of digestive process. That is carried around in teensy little baggies called liposomes, with somewhat different ones for fat globs of high or low density cholesteric molecules. (thus HDL, LDL). In an ideal world, the liposomes carrying discard cholesterol would make it to some exit orifice without bother, but in real world they tend to fall by the wayside while in transit, clogging arteries and organs - esp Mr. Liver.

SO.. like a Microsoft technical explanation, what you cite is sorta correct technically, but nonetheless leads to the wrong conclusion as stated.

(One has read that the whole body contains and maintains only very tiny quantities of internally synthesized cholesterol -- a little goes a long way -- but carries around potentially great gobs of exogenous cholesterol that just keeps circulating due to limited means for processing it toward excretion.)

Bon appetit.

30th Sep 2013, 13:18
Very interesting arcniz and (unlike microsoft's help pages) actually quite interesting. So it's still good to restrict ones cholesterol intake, then, and I will do so.

Next subject: is dark chocolate (80% or more) good for lowering blood pressure ?

Solid Rust Twotter
30th Sep 2013, 14:26
Quinine? Good luck with that.

May one suggest getting someone to chain you to your bed to avoid going meshugah after three days of constant tinnitus, and chewing the face off some random passer by?

30th Sep 2013, 17:19
I tend to live and work in very hot and / or humid climates which tend to reduce the body's electrolytes and consequently have suffered from leg cramps for a number of years - often in both legs and feet at the the same time. Amusng for everyone except me :O

On the advice of a military doctor who has seen a lot of this in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the past 5 years I have been taking combined Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D3 tablets - two tablets twice a day. This has definitely improved the problem dramatically.

Same Doc told me that alcohol depletes the body's magnesium levels and this is why people often suffer leg cramps without realising the cause.

30th Sep 2013, 19:43
I still like the idea of G & Ts as a prophylactic!

1st Oct 2013, 07:40
Radeng says:
I still like the idea of G & Ts as a prophylactic!

But.. how do you wear them?

1st Oct 2013, 10:32
Drink them very very cold and the body burns more calories warming the liquid up than are contained in the drinks - so you get get pissed AND lose weight at the same time (or so I have heard and although I doubt it is true it is comforting !)

3rd Oct 2013, 00:26
Sorry folks. been away.
The femoral cramp is literally cramp along the femoral artery. From the groin down. Having seen it from the outside, it is excruciating to put it mildly.[ She suffers from acute arthritis which fades into insignificance in comparison] Salt is a no-no [diabetic] She does not drink alcohol so G n Ts are out. Plenty of water "seems" to work, but when I have both hands around the underside of her pubic area, at 3 am, trying to lift her [to alleviate any pressure]It ain't funny